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The Icon: Daniel Day-Lewis

St. Patrick’s Day is just two days away, so we thought we’d dedicate this week’s icon to one of the most stylish Irishmen currently on the scene. We’re thinking of Daniel Day-Lewis, he of the piercing blue eyes and the method intensity. And as a man of refinement, he also happens to know his way around a tailor’s office.

This is the early Day-Lewis, circa In the Name of the Father. It’s basically an Anglo-Irish version of Seattle grunge, between the flowing locks, vintage leathers and fisherman’s knit. Even before he cleaned up, he looked good.

A little older now, and the chunky sweaters are now paired with shorter hair and a few days of stubble. He’s not exactly in Savile Row territory, but he’s on his way.

Before he shot Gangs of New York, Day-Lewis took an apprenticeship under Stefano Bemer, a former Gucci man and one of the finest cobblers in Florence. When he returned, he wasn’t afraid to try out some more adventurous suits, like this velvet model he donned for the Gangs press rounds. And along the way, he sheared off those locks completely. Luckily, his face holds so much attention that we barely noticed.

That tailoring yen paid off in full when he made press rounds for There Will Be Blood—and in one of our favorite suits of the year, no less. It was fearlessly eye-catching, a tweedy nod to his Irish heritage and—between the broad checks and the lapeled vest—it predated the Miller’s Oath/Boardwalk Empire trend by a solid three years.

And finally, the Oscar suit, courtesy of Paul Smith. It’s unmistakably a tux, and fits to a tee—but the brown piping on the lapel is just enough to show off his iconoclastic streak. Four years after the fact, it’s still one of the best red carpet moments of the modern Oscars.

But judging by the buzz for Lincoln, he may have a chance to best it in 2013.